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fighting sugar cravings while hypothyroid - and Insinase
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fighting sugar cravings while hypothyroid - and Insinase

I know that eating sugar is not going to do me any good, but I really crave sweet foods, especially chocolate. I've managed to get through the last two days without eating any cakes, biscuits or chocolate (after stuffing my face all xmas, lol!) but it's a constant struggle! I think I'm craving it because I feel tired and a little sad and sugar gives me an energy and serotonin boost. Does anyone have any great tips for reducing sugar cravings? Or any other comments about sugar consumption and hypothyroid?

NB: I see a naturopath and she gave me something new to try the other day which seems a bit weird but I'm trying it anyway, has anyone else tried a supplement called Insinase?  I'd be really interested to hear about your experiences if you have.
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967320_tn?1333203308
You know, I have always wondered if there was a correlation between being hypo and craving sugar, because I've had hypothyroidism since I was a kid and all throughout school, I would CONSTANTLY be eating candy; I'd even sneak it during every class. I also think it had something to do with trying to keep my energy level up. I've got a better handle on my treatment since I've been going to my naturopath, and I've noticed I don't crave candy NEARLY as much, and what's interesting is that in the past few months, my husband has started craving candy like I used to, and his thyroid results from his annual physical just came back abnormal. Makes me wonder!
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1097839_tn?1344583542
what has your naturopath got you on, if you don't mind me asking?

I too was a fiend for chocolate at school, it's been a lifelong thing!
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798555_tn?1292791151
Sugar cravings - some people just have it. But this can also be a sign of digestive bacterial overgrowth. It feeds on sugar and the symptoms are very close to those with hypothyroid. Naturopaths know all about this- ask about the "morning saliva in the glass of water" test. Sounds gross, but many have this condition. Weird but true.
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649848_tn?1357751184
I agree with LazyMoose that it could have something to do with digestive bacteria.  It could also have to do with the fact that you've been eating sugar for so long, it's become a habit and your body/mind thinks it can't get along without it.  You could try satisfying your sweet tooth with fruit -- bananas, apples, etc -- much better for you. You can also try using stevia or agave nectar for sweetening instead of sugar.  Or try distracting yourself when you get the urge to eat -- go for a walk, sweep the floor, fold clothes, run the vacuum, dust -- anything that will keep your hands and mind busy with something besides eating.  

Chocolate is actually good for you if you eat the dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao).  It's not as sweet as milk chocolate, but much better for you.  Of course, as with anything, you need to be careful not to overdo.  
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1097839_tn?1344583542
thanks both, I started seeing my naturopath orginally for candida which I guess is a kind of digestive bacterial overgrowth? I'm on probiotics and anti fungals for that as well as micronutrients, I was doing quite well avoiding sugar under her regime but then the hypothyroid got out of control and set me back. At least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! christmas obvoiusly hasn't helped either.

I think I've got a book somewhere that outlines the morning saliva test and seem to remember doing it years ago, will see if I can dig it out and do it again. I don't seeing my naturopath for another month as I just saw her this week. I should have mentioned the Candida thing in my original post really.  Before my hypothyroid state I'd done quite well reducing fungus overgrowth and sugar intake but now I'm bad with it again.

I will look into the agave nectar or stevia options. I kind of worry about taking sugar substitutes as I think they just make me want more sweet things. Fruit as a substitute only works to a certain extent for me and i don't like to eat too much of that either as even just one apple sometimes can leave me feeling more hungry than before I had it!

Distractions are a good suggestion. I like the housework recommendation! My house could always do with being cleaner!

I was only eating 70% dark choc for quite a while but have fallen back into evil milk chocolate ways over christmas. Maybe I will find the cravings reduce when I've done a few more days "cold turkey". It really is like a drug for me, it's ridiculous!
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1097839_tn?1344583542
a chicken and egg situation maybe, what comes first?

the sub clinical hypothyroid tiredness that makes us want to eat sugar for an energy boost or the compromising of the immune system that comes from eating too many sweeties (and antibiotics etc) as a child and maybe leads to problems like hypothyroidism alongside candida and all the other lovely associated health problems...
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649848_tn?1357751184
When you get YOUR house in order, you can come work on mine, as I have enough to keep your mind and hands busy for a long time...........LOL.   Also, you might think about chewing sugar free gum......oh, and make sure you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, since dehydration may cause you to feel hungry or have cravings.

Stevia and agave nectar are not "sugar substitutes" like splenda and some of the others.  Stevia is a sweetener that comes from a plant.  Agave nectar comes from the agave plant, which is a desert succulent.  Both are natural sweeteners, similar to honey, but from what I've read, they don't raise the blood sugar like honey does.  

The problem you may be having is that you get hungry and instead of eating a regular meal, you snack on something sweet, which raises your blood sugar and gives you a burst of energy, but then all of sudden, your blood sugar levels bottom out and you need more sugar to get going again.  You might try eating a good breakfast with plenty of protein and "good for you" fiber.  Please don't tell me you don't eat breakfast....

If you still have a lot of fatigue, I might suggest that maybe your thyroid levels are not where they should be for YOU (never mind the labs) or, you might want to have your b12 levels tested.  I have both hypo/Hashi and pernicious anemia (b12 deficiency), so I take both my thyroid med AND regular b12 shots.  Without them both, I don't function well.  
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393685_tn?1325870933
Oh it goes a tad deeper than just candida.....

It the bad carbs in sugar that we crave - just like in cr@p bread - noodles and a host of others like the dreaded MSG!

Here is a brief thought and it is very hard to accomplish for many hypo's.

The acidophillus is definately a plus. You must clear out the bacteria of candida to start the system up running.

You MUST go through the sugar STARVE to achieve a balance. I found that upping my PH levels with baking soda and vinager and lemon really helped me lay off the sugar to starve it out. WEEKS though.

Finding a low glycemic diet - with high AM/ protein like the Zone had to be forced into my regime.

Supplements to overcome the sugar fixes is VIT C - B's and D-3. What worked for me was a full supplement package of thyroid and adrenals support.

At present - I go through "periods" of sugar cravings or even wanting wine or beer more on certain occassions. Thats where the candida comes from. They never leave us entirely - and when we feel them they grow - so the process must start all over again if we cheat and feed them.

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798555_tn?1292791151
You might check this out. From what I read, its the best when others fail.  Three Lac is the product, made by Global Health Trax. Candida is so smart it can become immune to other 'eradicators' after awhile.
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907968_tn?1292625804
Every couple days I read more about Hypothyroidism and see "me".  In this case, for years, no breakfast, candy bars for breaks, lunch, and in between each of them.  nearly 1/2 gallon of ice cream every day and every time there were french toast or pancakes I'd smother them with syrup!  Since the heart attack in April I've weened my self off the chocolate because of the saturated fats but still grab at least one candy bar a day or a package of cookies. Didn't know about the hypothyroidism till this past September '09 and now see where this all fits in.
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798555_tn?1292791151
Now you see how everything is related in health, its an eye opener isnt it. With your past diet, it would be good to learn about this stuff.  If you dont put it in your kitchen, you cant eat it. Sugar is evil and not just about gaining weight. It lowers the PH in your blood too, making it acidic, bad for the heart muscle. Best in moderation, if you cant quit. Face it, pretty hard to completely skip it. I just had oatmeal, with cinnamon, sliced banana and mango with lime on it, and two eggs. Very tasty. I might have a granola bar for a snack later - but sugar is the 'glue' that holds it together!

One you clear yourself of sugar, your taste buds begin to work better. Boring tasting things start to taste better.

There is even some thought as to Candida albicanes, that thrive in sugar and carbs to possibly have a tie in the creation of many antibodies - the start of many diseases not just hoshi and graves.  
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1097839_tn?1344583542
thanks all of you for so much good advice.

Barb I promise you I ALWAYS eat breakfast, I can't function at all without it. Mostly I have porridge made with water, sometimes some fruit or cinnamon on top, sometimes wheat free muesli also with water, sometimes rye toast with eggs and salmon or bacon, sometimes I'm bad and go out for breakfast and end up with very bad carb croissant or pancakes with syrup etc but that's maybe once a week or less, most days I really do eat something healthy.

I drink loads of water, try and have a healthy snack mid morning and mid afternoon, I eat a healthy lunch and dinner, loads of vegetables, practically no bad carbs but plenty of things like sweet potatoes and brown rice.

but I still sometimes can't help but go crazy for chocolate!!!

It seems I can go cold turkey for days or sometimes weeks then a tiny taste sets me off again!

So I'm going to listen to the advice here and really focus, again on trying the cold turkey solution. Stella thanks for the lemon, vinegar mentions, I remember that worked well for me some years back, will get back on that regime tomorrow!!! Lazy Moose, thanks for the three lac mention, if I'm still struggling in a couple of weeks will see about trying that too.

and thanks all for everything you've said to really hammer home to me how important this is as I get older and my health seems to be increasingly fragile, i really need to take care of myself now and must find a way of breaking the hold that evil sugar has on me!

I'm so grateful, sorry for another big long post.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Sometimes cutting something completely out of your diet is not a good idea because when you do "cave", you end up binging if you get too hungry for it -- like the chocolate.  Can you limit yourself to one small piece of dark chocolate per day?  If so, I might recommend that route rather than trying to cut it out cold turkey -- see what happened over Christmas?? Now you basically have to start over.

And when you DO have a piece of chocolate, just suck on it, make it last and enjoy every second of it -- don't just "wolf it down".  Don't do ANYTHING else (no reading, watching TV, talking - nothing), except concentrate on and savor that piece of chocolate -- you might find it much more satisfying and the craving might go away more quickly. That works for me; might be worth a try.

I'm not a huge chocolate (or any sweets) eater, but my downfall is chips -- I read an article once that said if you crave different things, your body is really looking for something else; like if you crave salty things, you are really thirsty and need water.  I'm going to have to try to find that again; sugar cravings was a need for one thing, sour cravings something else, etc.  I remembered that one about the salt because that's my "thing" and I know I don't drink enough water.

When you get the sugar cravings, have you tried having a piece of fruit, like an apple to satisfy it?  I find that thin apple slices often help my cravings for chips because of the "crunch"........
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1097839_tn?1344583542
hmmmm, it's a tricky one, I think I personally do need to pretty much cut it out, maybe except for occassional special treats.

One small square of choc a day wouldn't touch the sides with me, however much I savored it, it would make me want more and eventually I'd cave in, whereas from past experience I want it less the longer I don't have any.

I'd love to know what the article said sugar cravings could mean if you can find it. I just have a feeling that it started out as a straightforward love replacement when I was an unhappy little kid and now I have plenty of love in my life it's just remained as an established semi-addiction - plus it gives me a feel good/energy boost and with a low thyroid function that's a winner every time for me.

I try and eat a couple of pieces of fruit a day. More than that probably wouldn't be very good for me either as fruit is high sugar. Sometimes it helps but sometimes just makes me want something more substantially sweet!

I'm sitting here sipping water and lemon,  having a late start to my day as I'm tired today. Will see how I get on resisting cravings today, wish me luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Could you be hypoglycemic?
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1097839_tn?1344583542
well, interesting thought. I've just done a test online for it, in response to your post, and apparently I could be. I used to believe I was hyperglycemic, when I was younger, but then I learned to eat regularly and don't get those kind of shaky symptoms I used to when i was hungry, because I don't let myself ever miss a meal and I snack at the first sign of hunger pangs...

my doctor did test my blood sugar and it was normal, but hey, what does that mean??!!

apart from eating carefully I'm not sure what else I should / could do about hypoglycemia

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649848_tn?1357751184
Don't discount anything until you try it........sometimes it's a "mind set" -- meaning, you've already decided that it won't work, so it won't.......try deciding that it will, maybe it will......you never know.......

Being hypoglycemic is low blood sugar and if you eat regularly, so your blood sugar stays at an even keel, that shouldn't be a factor in cravings......
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1097839_tn?1344583542
thanks Barb, I hear what you say. I do want to keep an open and positive mind.

Next time I have an insatiable craving I will try the careful savoring and focussing on a very small piece of good quality dark choc and if I need to do that daily for a while then I will. And i'll investigate Stevia and agave nectar, they could be good to have in my cupboard.

But today I managed no sugar, hurrah!

I did some more reading on hypoglycemia after my last post and while my blood sugar levels seem to be quite sensitive/precarious, because I have to eat regularly, I think I can pretty easily keep them on an even keel just by doing that. Or is it that my blood sugar is not quite at the even keel it should be, despite me eating regularly, that could be causing the cravings possibly? Often if I have a craving I also feel very tired or low and when I eat some sugar it sorts me right out.  I just don't know.
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649848_tn?1357751184
It's a vicious circle for you -- you feel down and tired, so you eat sugar, which raises your blood sugar and you feel fine, but then once that sugar is "used up", your blood sugar takes a nose dive and you become hypoglycemic again, which requires another shot of sugar -- and the cycle repeats itself.  I've gotten caught in the circle before and it's not fun.  It just takes time to break out of it.  

Try to concentrate on complex carbs, "good fats", etc that will help keep you feeling satisfied and keep your blood sugar more stable. Do a search for low glycemic foods -- those which raise your blood sugar the LEAST.......
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1144849_tn?1395458766
Hi yallolorry, Lots of good suggestions here.  In my case I drastically changed my diet gave up all fast food, I eat no processed foods, Trying to eat gluten free food although that proves to be difficult. I too went through constant cravings for sugar. I would have to buy bags of candy. I don't have these cravings anymore. Part of it might be due to the change in my diet but the biggest single reason I don't have these cravings anymore is because I cut my caffeine to nearly zero. (I used to drink two to four tall energy drinks a day)

Caffeine triggers adrenaline, which stimulates insulin and this then results in cravings for food and negative shifts in blood sugar and the vicious circle goes round and round.  
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1097839_tn?1344583542
thanks Mcmillan, it's so interesting, I don't think caffeine is a big factor for me. I never have more than one cup of coffee a day and I never touch tea (except herbal tea) energy drinks or fizzy drinks. If I have more than one cup or drink it after about 11am I can't sleep and get shaky so it's not difficult to be disciplined!

i don't even have coffee every day, maybe 2 or 3 times a week at the most at the moment although when I am at work I go through phases of having one most mornings. I will keep an eye on my caffeine consumption though and make sure I don't inadvertently up it by not paying attention. I do love the energetic feeling a nice cup of coffee gives me. :)

This week I have been much better. Every second day has been sugar free which is good going for me. I managed to resist a pudding in a restaurant on Thursday but then couldn't resist scoffing some custard that was in our fridge on Thursday night! Yesterday I was craving sugar as I was tired but managed to resist all day.

Am doing lemon and water in the  mornings, eating low GI foods and taking this insinase stuff from my naturopath. I'm still not sure about the insinase, have started a separate post on that, but I do seem to be doing better with fewer cravings and better will power to resist when I get them.

fingers crossed - thanks so much for all your support and comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Just a comment on sugar cravings in general.  When I was a anthropology major in college we learned that man's craving for sugar is inborn and stems from the fact that in the wild bitter-tasting plants were mostly poisonous, sweet-tasting plants never were.  So our taste for sweets is actually a protective device meant to keep us alive.  I wonder how it got subverted and demonized in our modern world and now makes us fat.  Perhaps because we don't maintain the proper activity levels.
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1097839_tn?1344583542
not maintaining the proper activity levels will certainly be relevant in some cases - but in pretty much all cases, the sugar we eat these days is often highly processed, so has no nutritional value and we eat too much of it.

As an occassional treat it shouldn't do any harm but the portions and frequency of sugar consumption available to us nowadays will often overburden our systems way beyond the small, healthy amounts available to primitive societies through natural sweet foods like fruit and honey.

our innate fear and false consciousness as human beings makes us susceptible to stuffing our faces when we get the chance because it gives us comfort. any excessive overindulgence, surprise, surprise, will eventually make us sick.

it's similar to the impulse to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, etc...very human but worth trying to resist.
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1097839_tn?1344583542
not maintaining the proper activity levels will certainly be relevant in some cases - but in pretty much all cases, the sugar we eat these days is often highly processed, so has no nutritional value and we eat too much of it.

As an occassional treat it shouldn't do any harm but the portions and frequency of sugar consumption available to us nowadays will often overburden our systems way beyond the small, healthy amounts available to primitive societies through natural sweet foods like fruit and honey.

our innate fear and false consciousness as human beings makes us susceptible to stuffing our faces when we get the chance because it gives us comfort. any excessive overindulgence, surprise, surprise, will eventually make us sick.

it's similar to the impulse to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, etc...very human but worth trying to resist.
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